Tennessee Lawmaker: Gays Not "Mentally Healthy Adult Human Beings"

By Nick Visser

Originally published on Advocate.com January 25 2012 2:27 PM ET

Just one day after Phillip Parker, a gay teen in Tennessee, committed suicide, a state lawmaker told one of his constituents that gay individuals are not “mentally healthy adult human beings.”

Kristin M. Johnson, a lesbian student at Middle Tennessee State University, wrote to Rep. John Ragan asking him to oppose a “license to bully” bill that would protect those who bully based on religious or moral grounds, reports the New Civil Rights Movement.

“The threat to gay or lesbian children (yes, they do exist) or even to children rumored to be gay is quite overt,” Johnson wrote. “There is no mistaking that the purpose and language of this bill are to justify and defend anti-gay bullying, which has already caused too much pain and driven too many children to take their own lives.”

Ragan responded in a long email in which he compared homosexuality to murder, rape, overeating, and prostitution.

“Logically, homosexuality is defined by behavior, i.e., unless one engages in sexual activity with a member of the same sex, he, or she, is not a homosexual. (The term sexual orientation is a description of feelings.),” he wrote. “Feelings do not control the behavior of a mentally healthy adult human being.”

Read the full correspondence here.